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In April, divestment campaigners Jim Green and Chris Hull cycled from their homes in Norwich to three Church of England dioceses on a divestment pilgrimage, meeting with cathedral deans, environmental campaigners, clergy and diocesan officials.
They brought a banner that said ‘Divestment Ride’, took some photos and had a number of helpful conversations about divestment, sparked by a resolution passed by over 20 Anglican bishops in Africa that Jim distributed to those he met – a resolution that details what the African bishops call ‘a new era of economic colonialism by fossil fuel companies’ and calls for an immediate halt to oil and gas exploration in Africa.
Yet Jim said he felt he could do more, and earlier this month, he cycled to four additional dioceses (Lincoln, Southwell & Nottingham, Leicester and Lichfield), all of which are still invested in fossil fuels. Next week, Jim plans to cycle to five more dioceses that have yet to divest (Rochester, Southwark, London, Guildford and Chichester), with Chris joining for part of the ride.
As a Licensed Lay Minister in Norwich Diocese, Jim says these divestment pilgrimages, which have often taken him through beautiful countryside, have reminded him that ‘you have to love what you’re seeking to protect’. ‘I also care about the Church of England,’ he said. ‘If I do something that helps the Church of England on their journey to divesting, then that’s good. I’m not wagging my finger. This is my offering.’
Jim added, ‘it increasingly feels like, “I have to do this (divestment ride).” And we’ve been encouraged by people we’ve met to carry on doing it.’